WOOSTER, Ohio — A dairy processor that specializes in sour cream and cottage cheese production plans to expand its operations in northeast Ohio, and with it, the demand for milk.
Jacob Hammerly, plant manager, gave an update on the facility during a March 14 tour with Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels, who visited as part of an Ag Week tour across Ohio.
Hammerly said Daisy currently receives about five truckloads of milk a day, but with the expansion, he sees the need for another 40-50 loads a day. He said the expansion will increase the facility’s packaging and processing area, and also its cold storage capacity.
Daisy also operates production facilities in Texas and in Arizona. Before moving to Wooster, Hammerly worked for the Arizona facility, which he helped get started nine years ago.
“We just continue to grow and we’re trying to stay ahead of it,” said Hammerly.
The growth has been good for jobseekers, and for dairy farmers seeking more market for their milk. Hammerly said the Wooster facility currently employs 65, but expects to be up to 110 by the end of the year.
Daniels, who was part of the ground breaking ceremony in 2014, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and local economic developers, said he was encouraged by the progress.
“It’s great to be able to come back and see what that first shovelful of dirt has become — a facility that is growing and expanding even further to create additional opportunities for folks here in Wooster and the food and agriculture industry as a whole,” he said.
The facility was built to accommodate future expansion, but additional construction will be necessary. Hammerly said the company chose Wooster for a variety of reasons, including the close supply to milk (Wayne County leads the state in dairy), quality of life and the infrastructure and distribution opportunity.
State and local economic developers also made a competitive offer to the company, including a 10-year, 55 percent new job tax credit.
The tour was also attended by Roger Tedrick, dairy chief at Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Jared Parko, deputy director.
Daniels, who hails from a beef farm in Highland County, said the food processing industry in Ohio has been resilient, even following the recession of 2008.
“We want Ohio to continue to be a large food manufacturing state,” he said. “When the recession hit and people started looking at what stayed and worked, the one thing that was a constant was food processing.”
Other Ag Week visits included Stacy Farm Homestead of Marietta; Hocking Hills Winery; Meijer Distribution of Tipp City; D & D Ingredients of Delphos; Spangler Candy Co. of Bryan; and a water quality roundtable in Defiance.
“Ag Week is a time when we take a moment to appreciate the diverse producers and processors who bring us much needed food and fiber every day,” Daniels said. “This year, we made it a point to travel to each of Ohio’s unique regions to engage with those who work hard to keep food and agriculture our state’s number 1 industry.”